The MoveOn Virtual Town Hall on Iraq included member questions that took a different tack form the queries you usually find on the Sunday morning shows or at White House press briefings. For example, here’s the question for John Edwards:
What are you going to do about prosecuting war profiteering in Iraq?”
—C. Davey Utter, Retired NBC Broadcaster, Venice, CA
Surprisingly, the questioner used to work for NBC. I doubt the networks would do much reporting on “war profiteering in Iraq” these days, at least not in those words. Here’s another question that went to Joe Biden:
“What is your position on the permanent army bases and the huge embassy building being built in Iraq in view of the administration’s constant assertion that the U.S. is not planning to stay in Iraq permanently?”
—Jerome Zornesky, Professor, Ridgewood, NJ
To Bill Richardson:
It appears that stopping the funding for the war is the only way to stop the war. Are you for or against stopping the funding and why?
—Dave Conlon, Landlord, Carrollton, VA
To Chris Dodd:
The Bush administration is quietly pushing the Iraqi government to install a legally binding proposition that the major oil companies, for example ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and others, be granted the rights to approximately 70% of all oil and natural gas existing underground in Iraq. Where do you stand on who should own Iraqi oil, its production and refinement, and how do you think this administration’s position is affecting its stay-the-course stance on the Iraq war?
—Oscar R Michael, Retired Salesperson, Prichard, WV
To Barack Obama:
The Bush administration’s obstinate refusal to diplomatically engage parties such as Syria and Iran has clearly done nothing but harm the United States’ interests in the Middle East. How would you include these countries in the effort toward establishing a stable, responsible, and non-hostile government in Iraq?
—Alex Landry, Reference Librarian, Alexandria, VA
Hillary also got a pretty tough questioning grilling her for more specifics regarding her previous statements about keeping some US troops in Iraq. All in all, I enjoyed the MoveOn forum very much, and I encourage you to click through to read or listen to the candidates’ responses.
Beyond anything the candidates said, though, I was struck by the novelty of hearing such unapologetically blunt anti-war questions asked of those running for the White House. I also wonder if MoveOn included the hometowns and professions of the questioners to try to show them to be regular folks and not members of the radical fringe group that MoveOn is sometimes caricatured to be. These strident antiwar views are, after all, shared by a solid majority of Americans these days.